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Posted: March 14th, 2013 @ 10:49am
Today's installment in a daily series that recalls the story of the 1962-63 Kingston Frontenacs, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their Eastern Professional Hockey League championship season:
Fifty years ago today, Thursday, March 14, 1963
Cliff Pennington continues to be an enigma for the Kingston Frontenacs. Pennington, who spent all of last season and the first half of this one in the NHL with the Boston Bruins, is "the best centreman I've ever played with," in the view of one of his linemates, Pete Panagabko. "If Cliff sees me breaking he gives me the puck and it's always right on my stick."
Pennington's value to the Frontenacs is easily quantified - his record-threatening consecutive-game point streak currently stands at 20 games - and his deft stick skills invite high praise. "He handles the puck like an egg," said Bun Cook, the Frontenacs trainer who fashioned a Hall of Fame career with the New York Rangers in the 1930s.
Fans, however, sometimes chide Pennington for his aversion to backchecking, a flaw that no doubt led a last-place team like the Bruins to demote a fellow who had 17 points in 27 NHL games.
"I know the fans get on me because I don't check," Pennington told Ron Brown of the Whig-Standard, "but I never ever really concentrated on checking. I like to pass the puck, make plays and set my wingers up. In my opinion, that's a centreman's job."
Pennington vowed to make his way back to the NHL, "but I guess it's going to be my checking that'll get me back."
"I'm going to start checking but I'm not going to stop making plays."
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